Packaging Zeitgeist Expands to World’s Endangered Forests and Climate
New Global Initiative Launched to Reduce Packaging’s Heavy Footprint on Forests, Species and Climate
October 4, 2019
New research has found that roughly three billion trees disappear into packaging every year. This sourcing practice leaves in its wake a trail of deforestation, degraded forest ecosystems, threatened species, and an increasingly volatile climate. Now, the days of packaging’s impact on carbon and species rich forests are numbered, with the launch of Canopy’s new Pack4Good initiative. Pack4Good aims to curb the world’s voracious appetite for packaging, and to ensure that shipping boxes, wrappers, disposable cups and other forest-based packaging originate from recycled inputs and Next Generation Solutions rather than the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests.
Today ten brands, ASOS, H&M, Gina Tricot, HH Global, Kontoor, QLOTHÈ, Reformation, TOMS, VF Corporation and ZILVER are joining forces with award-winning environmental not-for-profit, Canopy, in the Pack4Good initiative that focuses on transforming the impacts of the world’s packaging supply chain on forests.
“Nobody wants packaging made with the habitat of endangered species such as orangutans or caribou anymore than they want a plastic box that threatens dolphins,” said Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy. “That’s why Canopy is partnering with brands on Pack4Good to develop smart solutions that work for business as well as for our planet’s natural systems, climate and species.”
Parallel with its plastic counterparts, paper-based packaging has a crushing footprint on the world’s forests, biodiversity and climate. More than half the paper used globally is for packaging. With the surge of e-commerce and necessary shifts away from plastics, demand for forest/paper-based packaging is growing aggressively, and so is its devastating impact on high carbon forest landscapes and species habitat. Already, 241 million tons of paper packaging is produced annually, and that number is expected to double by 2030. With forests forming 30-percent of the possible solution to the climate crisis, customers of forest based-packaging are now galvanizing to transform this supply chain.
Tom Byrne, Senior Sustainability Manager, ASOS said: “We’re committed to reducing the impact of our packaging on the environment and currently use 100%-recycled material in our paper-based delivery boxes. However, more must be done. Joining Canopy’s Pack4Good Initiative means we can work closely with Canopy, other global brands and packaging producers to foster innovation in packaging design, maximise the use of recycled content across the industry, and support the development of circular, next generation alternatives to current packaging.”
As part of the Pack4Good initiative, companies have set ambitious goals to help address the world’s climate crisis and wave of species extinctions. Brands are committing to ensure that by the end of 2022 all of their packaging will be:
- Designed to reduce material use.
- Free of Ancient and Endangered forests.
- Maximizing recycled or alternative Next Generation Solution sourced fibre use, (this includes fibre from agricultural residues or microbial cellulose).
- Using FSC-certified fibre when virgin forest- fibre continues to be used.
Recent years have seen significant shifts in the world’s tolerance for plastic packaging. Pack4Good works synergistically with these efforts to continue to shift the packaging sector to develop radically efficient design and systems and to adopt alternative fibres at a commercial scale. It will also secure protection of forests that have been heavily impacted by pulp and paper production including Canada’s Boreal, the Amazon, Brazil and Indonesia’s rainforests, and the coastal temperate rainforests of the world.